Monday, July 30, 2012


What is prayer? 

It is a spiritual communion with God as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession.  We can pray anywhere and anytime.  There is no specific way to pray and no specific times we should pray.  All we need to do is speak to God from our heart.  We can pray silently or audibly.  We can pray alone or with a group.  We can pray while driving to work, school or to the grocery.  We pray over our food, when we lie down to sleep, when we awake each morning.  We pray when we are troubled and when we are happy.  We are to pray without ceasing.

The Bible has a lot to say about prayer.  There is no certain posture for prayer.  Your prayers don’t need to be wordy or have impressive speech.  "When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again."Matthew 6:7.  “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.  God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few”. Ecclesiastes 5:2.

Why should we pray?

Prayer develops our relationship with God.  Prayer is communicating with God and helps us grow closer and more intimate with Him.  God instructed us to pray and when we pray we are obedient to Him.  Keep alert and pray.  Otherwise temptation will overpower you.  For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!”Matthew 26:41.  “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”Luke 18:1.  We pray so we will know what God’s will is for our lives.  We pray to seek direction and wisdom.  Praying demonstrates our faith in God.  We pray for forgiveness of sins.  We pray for those who don’t know Jesus.  We pray for God’s provision.  We pray thanking God and praising Him for who He is and for what He has done.

If you don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit will help you.  “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”Romans 8:26-27.

The Bible says we are to pray with a humble heart and if we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him – Jeremiah 29:13.  We are to have faith when we pray. – Mark 11:24.  We are to be sure we have confessed our sins, because “… The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”   James 5:16.

 God hears our prayers and always answers them.  It may not be the answer we want, but He answers with, yes, no, or not now.  God wants us to pray with other believers and also to pray alone and in secret. 

How should we pray?

 The “ACTS” Prayer is a good example of how pray.

A – Adoration – Praise God for who He is – holy, perfect merciful, loving, powerful, etc.

C – Confession – Confession allows us to clear away things which are displeasing to God by seeking His forgiveness.

T – Thanksgiving – We should thank God for the blessings He gives to us and for what He will give us.

S – Supplication – Now we can ask God for our needs and the needs of others.

God wants a relationship with us.  For our relationship with Him to develop we must talk with Him regularly.  

The Lord’s Prayer

Jesus is a prime example of living a life of prayer.  He prayed for God’s guidance and leading.  He prayed prayers of thanksgiving, prayers for healing, prayers for His disciples and prayers for believers both present and in the future.  In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus teaches how to pray.  We do not need to use these actual words, but use them as a model.

“Our Father in heaven,” - He is the creator and the Great Parent of us all.

“hallowed be your name,” – God is essentially holy.  We are to acknowledge the supremacy of God and His relationship to us. 

“your kingdom come,” – This is a wanting God to reign everywhere and that His laws be obeyed till the world is filled with His glory.  

”your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” – God’s will is that men should obey His law and live holy lives.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” – He tells to pray for both our physical as well as our spiritual needs.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  – We are to have an attitude of forgiveness.  If we forgive others, then God will forgive us.

“And do not lead us into temptation,” – We are to trust God for deliverance over temptation (anything that tests our virtue) and sin.

“but deliver us from the evil one.” – The evil one is Satan.  Deliver us from his power, snares, temptations.

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” – God has control and power over everything and with Him all things are possible; and not our honor, but His be displayed through all the earth.

How does prayer affect our lives?

When we face trying circumstances, it pays to pray.  Prayer relieves stress.  If we truly trust God, there is no need to be anxious or worry about the future.  Prayer does work.  There are numerous accounts in the Bible of answered prayers plus we all know stories of answered prayer from those around us.  God wants us to seek His help for our needs and desires.  When we pray, it draws us closer to God.

When do you pray? 
Do you only pray before the Thanksgiving meal or when you need something?
Do you find it hard to make time to pray?
We can take an hour out to exercise, watch TV, etc. so why not give time each day to God?
Do you offer praise and thanks to God for all He has done in our life?
Do you trust God will hear and answer your prayers?

Monday, July 16, 2012


Is pride always bad?  There are two kinds of pride.  Pride is reasonable or justifiable self-respect; or improper and excessive self-esteem known as conceit or arrogance.  Paul expresses the positive kind of pride in 2 Cor. 7:4 when speaking of the confidence he has in Christians.  The pride of doing a job well and the pride that comes from self-righteousness are very different.  God hates the self-righteous, because it hinders us from seeking Him.  Sinful pride appears in the Scripture frequently in both Old and New Testaments.  Pride is a sin of attitude.  It is evaluating self over God.  Examples of proud people are found in both Testaments.  It was the downfall of King Uzziah, Hezekiah, the Pharisee in the temple, Herod, and others.  It can bring down individuals and nations.

At the top of the Seven Deadly Sins list is Pride.  It is the root of so many sins; however it is not considered to be a deadly sin in society today.  We are taught to have pride. We are told as early as elementary school to “believe in yourself”.  We don’t see pride in ourselves, but we do see it in others.  Pride is looked up to and we think it is something we should aspire to.

The Seven Deadly Sins never occur as a list in the Bible, but does occur many many times individually.  Scripture condemns all seven.  God hates pride.  It’s hard to image that God hates anything, but He does hate pride.  “God opposes the proud – but gives grace to the humble.”James 4:6, Proverbs 3:34.  He hates it, because He loves us.  Pride is like a cancer.  It brings destruction to relationships. 

All people have pride in their lives and it surfaces in many ways.  It shows up in businesses, when executives are unwilling to listen to their people or their customers.

It shows up in our personal lives in many ways -----
It makes us ignorant – We think our opinion is better than others.  Prov. 2 says we think we know better.
It makes us argumentative with our spouses, our children, etc.
It makes us defensive.
It can show up in the way we look at another person.
It makes us not want to do things we think are beneath us.
It makes us boast about our accomplishments – We are seeking admiration and Acknowledgment of others.  We take credit for abilities given to us by God.
It makes us desire to be admired by others.
It makes us stubborn – We can’t say we are wrong. 
It makes us critical of others – We find fault in others and we are quick to blame others.
It makes us ungrateful – We should be thankful in all circumstances.
It makes us selfish – We focus on self.  We should be humble.
It makes us have selfishness ambition – Doing things for the wrong reasons and not doing them to glorify God.
It makes us self-conscious – We are always focused on looking good or appearing to be better than we really are.
It makes us prejudice – We want others to measure up to our standards.
It makes us unteachable – We think we know it all and don’t need to learn more.
It makes us bitter, angry and lack forgiveness of others.
It makes us trust ourselves instead of God – This makes us lack a prayer life.
It makes us jealous of other’s successes.
It keeps us from God – Keeps us from praying, because we think we can do it by ourselves and we don’t need God’s help.
It makes us not want to admit our sins. – It sets the wrong example that may keep others from accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

Who do you think of when you read this list?  Do you think of other people who might fall into this category and not think of yourself?  That’s the pride in you.  “The pride of your heart has deceived you…” (Obadiah 3)What keeps you from seeing the pride in you is pride.

When was the last time you admitted you were wrong about something?
How do you keep your head from becoming too big?
Who keeps your pride in check?
How has pride affected you?
How does pride manifest itself in your life?
What actions do you need to take to combat pride?

Moses struggled with pride.  He was raised with riches for 40 years then became a shepherd.  His heart changed.  When God called him, he said “Who am I”. – (Ex. 3:11).  He became humble.  Humility is the key to be used by God.  We look to people who have talents, confidence, and knowledge, but God used the humble throughout scripture. 

God chose Abraham and Sarah to birth a great nation, because they were humble.  He used Jacob, because he was insecure.  He used Leah who was unattractive, Rahab who was immoral, Gideon who was poor, David who had an affair, Jeremiah who was depressed, Jonah who was reluctant and dishonest, Naomi who was a widow, John the Baptist who was eccentric, Peter who was impulsive and hot tempered, Martha who was a worrier, Thomas who was a doubter, the Samiration woman who had several husbands, Paul who was in poor health, Timothy who was timid and the list goes on and on.

God gives grace to the humble.  “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”(James 4:10).  What would happen if you said, “God, I humble myself before you?”  It’s a hard thing to admit you are wrong and have sinned and to humble yourself.  We like to be important and we always want to be first in everything.  We always want to win in everything and be on top.  “… but in humility consider others better than yourselves. “ (Philippians 2:3).  “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 2:5).

Being humble is not being insecure.  What’s God calling you to do?  We need to understand who God is.  We need to have His confidence not confidence in ourselves.  It comes from God not for what we have done.  The good we’ve done is not from us, but from God.  He takes unlikely people and circumstances and uses them in His plan.

What do we do about our pride? 

First thing to do is recognize the pride in you, then you can get rid of it by asking God to reveal it to you and He will help you overcome it, work on acknowledging the accomplishments of others, and be inspiring and not arrogant.  Imitate Christ’s humility – (Phil. 2:1-9)  

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than ourselves.”(Phil. 2:3). 

“Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and He will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded….. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.”(James 4:7-10).

 “… Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”(Rom. 12:3) 

“Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.”(Rom. 12:16)

More Scriptures on Humility:

Job 40:12, Psalm 37:11; 119:21; 131:1; 138:6; 147:6; 149:4, Proverbs 3:34; 8:13; 10:8; 15:31,33; 16:5, 18-19; 29:23, Isa. 5:21; 57:15; 66:2, Micah 6:8, Matt. 18:3-4; 23:12, Luke 1:52; 14:7-11; 16:15; 18:9-14; 22:24-27, Mark 9:35, John 5:44, Rom. 12:3,16, 1 Cor. 1:28; 3:18; 13:4; 1 Peter 5:5-6, and many more.